Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Estero Llano Grande State Park

One of the best birding locations in the Rio Grande Valley is Estero Llano Grande State Park near Weslaco, Texas. This park was specifically built as a World Birding Center and has wonderful trails and boardwalks that make it perfect for bird viewing and photography.

There are many man-made wetlands that attract ducks and waders.  The conditions were perfect for this picture of a Green-winged Teal male.  He was close, the light was great, and the water was calm. Why don't they all come out like this?
Green-winged Teal - Male
Not quite as attractive as the Teal, we saw plenty of Northern Shovelers.  They are well named for their over-sized bills.
Northern Shoveler - Male
Northern Shoveler - Female
Estero Llano Grande is one of the only places that you are practically guaranteed to see a Common Pauraque, which roosts on the ground and is very well camouflaged.
Common Pauraque
Another South Texas specialty is the Great Kiskadee. 
Great Kiskadee
And like so many other places near the Texas Coast, you can find American Alligators in the freshwater ponds.  This big fellow was catching some sun.
American Alligator


  1. You made me kinda homesick for the Valley.... saw so many "first time" birds there in 2002 - when we volunteered at Santa Ana, that we've gone back several times since. Love that green-winged teal!

  2. Wonderful pictures. We also love that place.